Following a two-day ceasefire, Ukraine's military forces have begun withdrawal of their heavy weapons from the frontiers in the eastern regions, according to the defence ministry.

The withdrawal is part of the latest Minsk peace deal signed on 12 February.

Ukraine began withdrawal of 100 millimetre calibre artillery from the contact line, the ministry said in a statement on its website. However, it said it reserved the right to alter the schedule of withdrawal "in the event of any attempted offensive".

The pullout is being done under the supervision of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

The withdrawal of arms comes a week after Ukraine suffered one of the worst defeats of the year-long conflict that has killed over 5,700 people.

Rebels had captured the strategic town of Debaltseve after ignoring the ceasefire.

Since then, they have abided by the pact and Ukraine forces reported no combat fatalities at the front for a second straight day on Thursday, 26 February.

Hostilities between the Ukrainian military and pro-independence insurgents have ceased in most parts of eastern Ukraine, said Kiev while fearing the rebels would continue with attempts to seize Ukrainian positions near Donetsk and Mariupol cities.

The rebels called on the Ukrainian military on Wednesday (25 February) to start the pullback of their heavy weapons from the frontline after claiming they had already withdrawn about 400 units in recent days.

The agreement reached in the Belarusian capital calls for complete pullout of heavy weapons out of striking distance by both warring sides.

Meanwhile, the rebels brought Ukrainian war prisoners to the ruins of the airport on the north of the town to recover the dead bodies of their fellow Ukrainian troops, killed when the terminal was captured in January.